The Last Whale by Chris Pash was shortlisted for the 2009 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize.
Pash said: “I am happy for the recognition it gives to the last whalers of Albany, Western Australia, and happy also that the work of the anti-whaling activists is not forgotten.
“I don’t see myself as a maritime historian – my job was to re-create the sea battle between the last whalers and the group of activists who tried to stop them in 1977.”
Pash said that while whaling was reviled by society today, it played a major part in building settlement in Australia.
“Whale products, not wool, were Australia’s first exports,” he said.
“Understanding both groups – whalers and activists – provides insight into the issues surrounding whaling today.”
The Last Whale, published by Fremantle Presss, captures and preserves the final days of a major part of Australia’s maritime history – whaling. The last whaling station closed in 1978 in Albany, Western Australia.
The $2000 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize is awarded every two years by the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH) and the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM).
The 2009 prize went to Captain Cook: Voyager Between Worlds (Hambledon Continuum, 2007) by John Gascoigne.
Frank Broeze was born in the Netherlands in August 1945, and died in Perth on 4 April 2001. He was one of the founders of the AAMH and the founding editor of its journal. He was the President of the International Commission of Maritime History and Vice-President of the International Maritime Economic History Association for many years. He also served on the Board of the West Australian Maritime Museum and was its deputy chairman from 1994 until his death in 2001.